Published on May 31st, 2012 | by Sharilyn Johnson


Must cute blonde journalists act uninformed to get attention?

It’s been over a year since self-proclaimed “Canada’s Carrie Bradshaw” Leah McLaren informed Globe & Mail readers that female comedians are unfunny, and that this could be easily solved by simply changing all their material.

Now it’s time for Canada’s other national newspaper, the National Post, to top that tripe with a piece entitled “Must women act undesirable to be funny?”

Spoiler alert: they totally do!

Sarah Boesveld, influenced by her single source of a doctorial candidate who once skimmed the Just For Laughs website and wrote down the genders of everyone in the lineup, purports that chicks can only be funny if they’re fat, ugly, and generally disgusting on stage.

It must be true: just look at Canada’s most popular female comics!

Like perennial favorite Debra DiGiovanni. Guys, she’s fat, and she’s single, and she talks about it. On stage. I mean, guh-ROSS! Right??

she almost has no choice but to cast herself in this light — as unattractive, sexually unappealing and self-deprecating — in order to achieve that success, argues Danielle Deveau, who defended her PhD dissertation on stand up comedians in Canada this spring

Sarah’s Mean Girls schtick continues:

other female comedians such as Nova Scotia performer Nikki Payne — who was born with a cleft palate and a lisp and makes hay out of humping a microphone and cussing profusely — use the same strategy.

Well, I guess that’s all the evidence we need! Clearly, the only material DiGiovanni and Payne have is designed to make them appear fugly inside and out.

And since both of them have dusty, underused vaginas, this must be a problem rampant among all female comedians.

Unlike male comics.

Who never talk about their insecurities on stage.


I mean, if they did, that would make it some sort of an across-the-board comedic formula. As if being relatable and honest worked to get points across and show who a person is.

But we all know that’s a ridiculous premise. Male comedians would never stoop so low. If they did, we wouldn’t be constantly seeing them in Calvin Klein ads, and scoring all that pussy after their Tuesday night open mic spots.

DiGiovanni, accepting Best Female Stand-Up at the 2011 Canadian Comedy Awards. Photo by Sharilyn Johnson

What else do you even say about this? The article is sloppier than a 5am walk of shame to the Vomit Comet. I mean, at least I imagine that would be sloppy. I obviously wouldn’t know first-hand, because I’m too funny for any man to want to fuck me. (HAY GUYS, LOOK WHAT I DID, I MAKE A WITTICISM ABOUT NOT GETTING LAID, CUZ THAT’S ALL I’M CAPABLE OF TALKING ABOUT!)

It turns out there’s lots to say in the comments section. Oh, comments section: you can be a fickle beast, but how proud you’ve made comedy supporters today.

Not since the inTOcomedy Sketchfest scandal of ’11 has this country’s comedy community taken such glee in picking apart a writer’s horrible judgement.

The article’s feedback is thick with industry figures, with comments attributed to the likes of director Mike Fly, SiriusXM Laugh Attack host Ben Miner, comics Martha O’Neill, Allison Dore, Georgea Brooks-Hancock, K. Trevor Wilson, Terry Clement, Kate Davis, Anna Gustafson… the list goes on and on.

The only way it could be better? If there was any chance in hell Boesveld understood who those people are.

According to an email exchange she had with comedian Rhiannon Archer – which can be seen in its entirety on Archer’s Facebook page – Boesveld’s main defence seems to be that she was simply too rushed to do any further research.

Boy, can I ever relate to that. I hit snooze one too many times in the morning, and I accidentally write a sexist, hateful article on my way out the door. So awkward!

Other than email exchanges, Boesveld has been so far silent in the comments section and on Twitter. It’s probably just as well: she doesn’t have a skinny, confident, datable leg to stand on.

Sarah, you’re learning the hard way: reporting on comedy is HARD. It takes years to develop even a rudimentary understanding of the business and the artform and how they coexist. If you feel comfortable dissecting it your first time out, you’re doing it wrong. This isn’t something you Google, it can’t be found in your CP style guide, and it certainly can’t be gleaned from interviewing a sole grad student who woke up one day and decided to become an expert on the subject.

Going forward, please pitch stories on topics that are easier for you to master. Like the Middle East.

Tags: ,

About the Author

is the author of the book Bears & Balls: The Colbert Report A-Z. Called "one of the city’s most discriminating comedy critics” by NOW Magazine, Sharilyn has been covering comedy for longer than she cares to admit. She served as the comedy reporter for Winnipeg's Uptown Magazine for five years, and was the host of the radio show Laugh Tracks for three seasons. Her work has also appeared in the Toronto Star, the Winnipeg Free Press, The Apiary, and on CBC Radio's national comedy programs LOL and Definitely Not the Opera.

3 Responses to Must cute blonde journalists act uninformed to get attention?

  1. Pingback: News Roundup: Women – Are They Funny, Ugly, or Both? | Catherine McCormick Comedy

Back to Top ↑
  • The Colbert Report A-Z

    Third Beat editor Sharilyn Johnson presents the ultimate fan guide to The Colbert Report, available from all major booksellers including amazon.com